Friday, November 29, 2013

The Belle of the Ball. San Francisco, California

Happy post-Thanksgiving to all and to another Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza! The holidays have officially begun and so have the parties: Christmas, New Years, whatever holiday you love to celebrate! And what's the best about holiday parties (besides the food, of course)? ... Looking amazing, that's what! With that, I've added two more collection garments to my Etsy for any holiday or window shoppers (so you can get in the mood of what you'd like to wear for your holiday). If you're new to my blog, these are my collection garments. Therefore they've been worn for fashion shows only and they are one of a kind, designed and sewn by me. Below is a peak of the other garments that are already on my Etsy. My collection was inspired by the glamour of the 1920's and 1930's (I'm a vintage gal through and through) ... except for the LED light dress above, that was a for a special category.  

Feel free to check my Etsy for more details, click this link: MusingsWithMissP
Or you can email me directly at


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Castles and Countrysides. London, England. Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2013


To the stocks she goes!! At Warwick Castle

Where's the best place to be on All Hallow's Eve? In a castle of course ... for an hour at least ...

He sang me a bard in front of  our dear Shakespeare's birth home. At Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon

Driving through The Cotswolds. A tiny peak of the beautiful villages. How 'bout those thatched roofs, eh?

Who says touristy things aren't fun? "Local" life is so overrated!
Hehejk. But, seriously, we didn't have time fa dat! 

We spent our last two days in England on guided tours outside of London. Being that it might be awhile before we have another grand European adventure, we decided to jam pack as many places and landmarks as possible. This included a 5:30am wake up call the morning after the WGSN Awards (Oh, yes we did!). 

We started our day at Warwick Castle, a fortress that began its construction around the year 914, mhmm 914.  So you can  imagine that with the likes of William the Conqueror, Richard Neville, Queen Elizabeth I, and a surplus of dukes, earls, queens, and kings that contributed to it's story, that this castle had no shortage of a rich and tumultuous history ... and ghosts for that matter. Oh yes, hauntings are definitely part of the attraction. Surprise! That's really why we decided to visit on Halloween! ;) They even had a haunted maze for the kiddies where we met a rather friendly "ghost" along the way. The creepiest installation though was the lifelike wax figures of Henry VIII and all of his six wives on display inside one of the rooms. I wouldn't want to be the one closing up by myself in the evenings if you catch my drift. From there we visited Stratford-Upon-Avon where William Shakespeare's birth home stands. The inside of his home was recreated to look the way it must have been when he was still living: beds, dinner settings, and curators dressed as if they had been plucked from the Elizabethan era (acting included). After Stratford-Upon-Avon, we drove through the  Cotswolds (a glimpse). Lush hills and sleepy villages dating back to the middle ages, make up the natural wonder and charm of this countryside.

Welcome to my university! ... kidding, I only wish it were so ... or do I?  University of Oxford

The sistah girl pose lives on! I had to! Because I would've deeply regretted not having done this at Oxford.

 Our final destination that Halloween Thursday was Oxford and its university (another haunted locale Weee!). The town and the prestigious University of Oxford was gorgeous with impressive gothic architecture and tall spires. Besides its collegiate status, the university was the inspiration of one famous school that you may have heard of (or may not have), Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The staircase and famous dining hall in the film were replicated from Oxford's own. While not the wildest Harry Potter fan or purist (I only enjoy the movies), Oxford was definitely my favorite trip of the day. I don't know if I would go to school there, but I would love to spend the weekend and traipse about town ... preferably on a vintage bike, wearing saddle shoes, a sweater, and trousers with the hems slightly cuffed (cute, yeah?). 
Visiting Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at her official home, Windsor Castle.

Our final England outing, the Friday before our early Saturday departures, began at Windsor Castle, the actual home (or one of them) of the current constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, she wasn't there when we came acallin' (Rude! lol). I think she's only there on the weekends. The interior of the castle was lavish; rooms and halls filled with expensive furniture, souvenirs from conquests, and gifts from all over the world: priceless. But, the most impressive artifact was the tomb of Henry VIII and last wife, Jane Seymour, housed in an underground tomb of the castle's chapel. You could say that I had a (quiet) geek out. I wish photos were allowed. He wasn't my favorite king by any means (adultery, the inventor of divorce for selfish reasons, and oh yeah ruthless beheadings of some of his wives), but I was in the land of the notorious king that I'd read so much about and he was right under my feet. Nuts!
Big sis, Len, being all dignified and such. At Stonehenge

It really is a wonderment isn't it?

For Jane Austen fans, specifically fans of "Persuasion," the pump rooms are located inside that building to the left! ... and the Ancient Roman baths are in there too. Our last stop, Bath

Exhausted and my canker sore (from cutting my mouth by accident) was in full force.

Waiting and resting, a random courtyard in Bath.

After, Windsor Castle we trekked to Stonehenge, where it was freezing and rainy. But, that only added to its magnificence. We zipped through Stonehenge, however, because our guide was terrible, good historian, but as tour guide .... the worst. If it wasn't for his driver, the sweet natured Malcolm, all hell would've broken loose. Free Malcolm! Free Malcolm! was the motto of the day. Beautiful countryside anyway especially when we made it to the village of Laycock for lunch, the delicious beef wellington was worth the wait. Laycock is also the setting for some scenes of the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" series from the '90's (that's right, the one that launched Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, the Darcy that remains in all our hearts). 
Our final destination was Bath, deep into the countryside. Another bad news for us, besides not seeing the Jane Austen Museum, we never saw the famous street lined with all the apartments that you see in films ("Persuasion") and in advertising brochures (*shakes fist in the air* Dang you tour guide that I will not name (unless asked!). But of course, like many places in England (and Europe), Bath was equally enchanting.

On our way back to our hotel in London, I knew that I was ready to go home (and not just for the sole reason that day by day more parts of my hair was frizzing out, growing into a bulbous Will Shakespeare hairstyle with bangs ... think about it). I was content (still eager to visit again though) but, I finally visited the country of my dreams. What a strange coincidence that the venue for my award nomination just so happened to be in London. Despite not winning, I think that coincidence was definitely a gift and with that, I have nothing but utmost appreciation for life's sweet surprises. 
Cheers, London! Thanks for the trip and I'll see you soon!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

WGSN Global Fashion Awards. London, England. Oct. 30, 2013

Brunch with these ladies: From left side of table (Front to back) Suzy, Denise, Lauren, Sophie. Right side of table (Front to back) Friend of Hanna, Luiza, Dianne, Me, Lucy. 

The Victoria and Albert Museum foyer transformed for a grand party

 British celebrity ... I fancied her dress. Of course I can't pull that off, but hats off to her!

One of the finalists, Han Zhongshu (Suzy ;) And her date.

They held the awards ceremony inside the exhibit of religious art. How Blessed.

Cat Deeley,  host of "So You Think You Can Dance" was our host for the evening. I love her! 

What I traveled thousands of miles for.

Christopher Bailey, Head Designer of Burberry, won an award!! I love what he's done with the brand, he's brilliant. 
The wonderful, Dianne Lober, manager of Brand Communications for Invista in the US. 
Lucy Gardner, the winner of the Lycra Future Designers Award. 

Shireeka Devlin, the winner of the Lycra Future Designers Award last year, 2012

Mumsie and I getting our pose on

I probably won't be making my own dress for awhile. Too stressful, I say.

Free drinks y'all!

The day began with brunch in Piccadilly Circus (the prettiest shopping district) with the ladies of Lycra, WGSN, and the finalists of the Lycra Future Designer Awards. The food at French restaurant Aubaine was delicious, a definite must for future London visitors. Later, I rode the Tube to Liverpool Street where I took the wrong turn and ended up in what looked like a financial district. Loads of men in suits made me assume such, though I must say that many of those working gents knew how to choose a good tailor (two thumbs up and a girlish smile from me, yay everyone wins!).

When my mother and I arrived at the V&A that evening, it was freezing and we had to wait awhile before they let us in. Once inside though, the museum was best dressed in purple lighting to get us party ready. I was more nervous than I thought I would be, but the drinks were free, appetizers made their way, and I left my coat at the coat check. Let the awards begin ... in another hour ... or two. After our three course meal was served, host Cat Deeley, was on her way with the festivities. The categories and winners went by rather fast (a mix of the host rushing because they started late and my nervous anticipation, so everything before our category was a blur).
Finally our category was next.
"Award for Individual Designer: The Lycra Future Designers Award ..." I could barely breathe. My name was introduced first along with a shot of my illustrations.
 "Pa-treet-zia Cla-reetza," she read my name first and continued to introduce the other finalists.

She made sure she pronounced my name correctly in her best Italian accent except ... it's not an Italian name and I am definitely not Italian, lol (Still love her though!). Alas, I didn't win. Lucy Gardner from the UK won the coveted prize. For a minute I was disappointed and then relieved that the anxiety was over. I still felt exhilarated, though. I was honored to have even been picked from thousands internationally, then one of thirteen, and down to the final four. I was just as excited to travel to London, a place that I'd dreamt of visiting, the place where I could finally use my British accent (Cockney was my specialty. I had practiced for years), but knew that I probably shouldn't, haha. So with that I congratulated Lucy, who I had gotten to know over brunch and I'm genuinely happy she won ;)). I also said my good-byes to the lovely Lycra ladies Luiza, Denise, and Dianne (who I had also gotten to know over email). Everyone that I had met from WGSN, Lycra and the 3 finalists were all so pleasant and kind, which made this experience all the better. So to celebrate my personal win, I grabbed another champagne (winning!) before the night was over ... and right before the mother would pull me out to taxi back to the hotel. Cheers to the night and to an early excursion in the morning!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Paris Je t'aime. Paris, France. Oct. 28, 2013

Arc de Triomphe. Blurry, I took a quick shot from inside the tour bus

Atop the Eiffel Tower. A view of The Trocadero.

Under La Tour Eiffel

Ankle Touch

Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Shot taken on the River Seine
Boat tour on the River Seine. Don't my mind mother hair lol, it reacted to London water and frizzed out like crazy and despite my buying a converter/adapter, my straightener still broke. Thus, the mother hair appeared.

Shot of Musee du Louvre from inside of the Musee du Louvre. It's that big!

My bff, Mo. Such a crowd just to get a glimpse. I haven't squeezed my way to the front since my last concert (which was a long time ago).

Musee du Louvre. "We love it!"

Opera Populaire. The home of the Phantom. Tour bus shot.

To beat the dreaded English storm, we jetted off to Paris for a day. Though we were at the St. Pancras station by dawn, the weather situation kept us from leaving at our scheduled time causing a tight tour of Paris upon arrival. But, the early trek on the Euro Rail was worth it. Paris was sunny and absolutely gorgeous.

*Cue iconic French song of your dreams*

The classic architecture of the buildings were very familiar, it reminded me of the equally lovely country, Italy. But once you enter the Avenue des Champs-Elysees the city's beauty is entirely its own. Our first stop was the packed Eiffel Tower. From there we took an hour boat tour on the River Seine and got a good glimpse of the grande city. Yet, the lack of sleep loomed over us and the lull of the boat rocked us into dreamland. One by one we plummeted ... for a good 10 to 15 minutes each. 

Our final stop was the Musee du Louvre. One word: Opulent. Mind you, I was exhausted at this point and my feet were hurting, but going through (what we could get through) was well worth the pain. The museum is a gargantuan work of art in itself with gilded rooms and long hallways of art from every century, ancient Mesopotamia to Da Vinci ... including the (small in size, but huge in price) Mona Lisa. I was excited to see the art that I had studied in school (if I wasn't in design, I would've be an art history teacher). The courtyard of the museum was equally brilliant and we took advantage of the scenery by taking as much photos as possible. *Le sigh* The trip was short as we headed back to England the same night, but the day was a great peak into this romantic city. Paris is magnificent, if not a little ostentatious. It's full of pomp and circumstance and I'm definitely coming back again one day. 

*Cue iconic French farewell song*

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Arrival of Queen P. London, England. Oct. 26-27, 2013

The Tower of London: The place where ghosts are made of.
A little lost, yes

Storm's a comin' ... as you can see from the mumsie's hair

The Victoria and Albert Museum
“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” - Mr. Darcy

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”
Mr Darcy
Near our neighborhood, Cromwell Road

The neighbourhood photobomber and I

The last ten hour flight I was on was the worst, but thankfully this set of ten from San Francisco to England wasn't that bad. I must have been excited despite my exhaustion (I was sewing until the last minute before leaving), so excited that as soon we reached our hotel I took a long nap.

We kept our first night in London simple by watching "Dancing with the Stars" original, "Strictly Come Dancing," this kept us fascinated and frustrated for a solid hour. Without giving away too much, I'll admit that I prefer the American copy and I usually like originals ... I will say this though, the celebrity that stole my heart was a chubby comedian with long hair and a lovely bald spot, lol. I've never laughed (tears of merriment) nor enjoyed any amateur dance performance more than his. No, he wasn't a great dancer, but his dance was cheeky and fun, better than the others. I'm completely serious when I say that I still find it a shame that he got the lowest score. More power to him though! But, to end our night we took the London Tube, or subway, to the famous Tower of London at around 9:30pm! We didn't go inside unfortunately, but this was an amazing peak into what London would entail.

Our second day in England was spent inside the Victoria and Albert Museum, walking distance from our hotel and where other massive museums were located. The V&A was the venue of the event that I would be attending on Wednesday. It was huge and free, as all museums are in London (amazing right?). There just wasn't enough time in a day to go through everything, but they did have a great fashion exhibition. My favorite being the Regency period of course, right Jane Austen fans?

Unfortunately, our day was cut short due to a dangerous storm headed our way early Monday morning. The wind became stronger later in the day and it seemed that tourists and locals were heading home. Later we would all find out that the predicted 80mph storm (one that hasn't happened since the late '80's or was it '90's) wasn't as destructive as reported it would be, but strong nonetheless, with a bit of damage in the South of England.

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